Read in: French

Curtain raiser

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), begins its third session (PrepCom III) today at UN headquarters in New York.

The session, which will run from 25 March – 5 April 2002, is expected to be primarily devoted to further consideration, elaboration and negotiations on elements for decisions contained in the Chairman’s Paper, which was submitted to delegates during the CSD’s second preparatory session. Delegates are expected to meet in three working groups throughout PrepCom III to consider this document.


The WSSD will be held 10 years after the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED, also known as the Earth Summit, took place from 3-14 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over 100 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 178 countries, and over 17,000 participants attended the Conference. The principal outputs of the Earth Summit were the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, a 40-chapter programme of action on environment and development, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Statement of Forest Principles.

Chapter 38 of Agenda 21 called for the creation of a Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to: ensure effective follow-up to UNCED; enhance international cooperation and rationalize intergovernmental decision making; and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels. In 1992, the 47th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) set out, in resolution 47/191, the terms of reference for the CSD, its composition, guidelines for the participation of NGOs, organization of work, its relationship with other UN bodies, and Secretariat arrangements. The CSD held its first meeting in June 1993 and has since met annually.

UNGASS-19: At its 47th session in 1992, the UNGA also adopted resolution 47/190, which called for a Special Session of the General Assembly to review Agenda 21 implementation five years after UNCED. The 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly for the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21, which was held in New York from 23-27 June 1997, adopted the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (A/RES/S-19/2). It assessed progress made since UNCED, examined implementation, and established the CSD’s work programme for the period 1998-2002.

RESOLUTION 55/199: In December 2000, the General Assembly adopted resolution 55/199, in which it decided to embark on a ten-year review of UNCED in 2002 at the summit level to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development. The General Assembly accepted South Africa’s offer to host the event. The resolution decided that the review should focus on accomplishments and areas requiring further efforts to implement Agenda 21 and other UNCED outcomes, leading to action-oriented decisions, and resulting in renewed political commitment to achieve sustainable development.

PREPCOM I: CSD-10, acting as the Preparatory Committee for the WSSD, held its first session at UN headquarters from 30 April to 2 May 2001. The session adopted decisions on: progress in WSSD preparatory activities at the local, national, regional and international levels, as well as by Major Groups; modalities of future PrepCom sessions; tentative organization of work during the Summit; provisional rules of procedure; and arrangements for accreditation and participation of Major Groups.

NATIONAL, SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL PREPARATORY PROCESSES: National Preparatory Committees for the WSSD have been established to undertake country-level reviews, raise awareness, and mobilize stakeholders. Subregional and regional preparatory meetings for the Johannesburg Summit were held between June 2001 and January 2002. Eminent Persons’ Roundtables on the WSSD took place in all five UN regions, and regional preparatory meetings were held for the Europe/North America (24-25 September 2001), Africa (15-18 October 2001), Latin America and Caribbean (23-24 October 2001), West Asia (24 October 2001) and Asia-Pacific (27-29 November 2001) regions, as well as for the small island developing States (SIDS) from 7-11 January 2002.

PREPCOM II: CSD-10, acting as the Preparatory Committee for the WSSD, held its second session at UN headquarters from 28 January – 8 February 2002. The Committee conducted a comprehensive review and assessment of progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21, including the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, as adopted in 1997 (A/RES/S-19/2), and agreed that the Chairman’s Paper would serve as the basis for negotiation at PrepCom III. The PrepCom also adopted its report (E/ CN.17/2002/PC.2/L.1), which contains the Chairman’s Summary of the Second Preparatory Session, the Chairman’s Summary of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment, and the Proposals for Partnerships/Initiatives to Strengthen the Implementation of Agenda 21. During the session, preliminary informal consultations were held on the issue of sustainable development governance, which were continued during the intersessional period.


SEVENTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/THIRD GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM: The Seventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GCSS-7) and Third Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF-3) took place in Cartagena, Colombia, from 13-15 February 2002. The Session was preceded by the final meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or Their Representatives (IGM) on International Environmental Governance (IEG), held at the same venue on 12 February 2002. The IGM failed to reach agreement on a number of critical issues, in particular, on strategies to ensure predictable and stable funding for UNEP and on according universal membership to the UNEP GMEF. However, these issues were resolved during the GCSS-7/GMEF-3, at which delegates adopted the IGM report on IEG and agreed to transmit it to PrepCom III. Delegates also agreed to take note of a statement by the President of the Governing Council on UNEP’s contribution to the WSSD, and to transmit it to PrepCom III, together with the report and policy statement prepared for the GCSS-7/GMEF-3 by UNEP’s Executive Director.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOVERNANCE: An informal one-day consultation on sustainable development governance was conducted on 28 February 2002 at the UN Headquarters in New York. The consultation was based on an informal paper prepared by the Bureau Vice-Chairs assigned this task, Lars Göran-Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadimna Anaedu (Nigeria). There appeared to be general support for focusing on existing institutions rather than creating new ones. Delegates also supported the consideration of the role of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organization (WTO) in sustainable development governance, although there were no specific proposals presented. Ideas put forward include: focusing on the CSD; broadening the scope of international sustainable development governance beyond the CSD; considering the role of ECOSOC; considering a structure similar to the Collaborative Partnership on Forests as one way of involving other organizations in sustainable development governance and implementation; and incorporating the results of the UNEP IEG process into sustainable development governance. Based on the discussions, the Co-Chairs produced a paper that will be presented at PrepCom III.

UNFF-2: The second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-2) took place from 4-15 March 2002, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates addressed progress in implementation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests proposals for action and the UNFF Plan of Action. During a High-Level Segment, the Forum developed and adopted a Ministerial Declaration and Message to the WSSD.

The Declaration, inter alia, re-affirms commitment to the Forest Principles and Agenda 21, but notes that much remains to be done. It invites the WSSD to: advance sustainable forest management as a means to eradicate poverty and reduce land and resource degradation; enhance political commitment to achieve sustainable forest management by endorsing it as a political priority; call for immediate action on domestic forest law enforcement and illegal international trade in forest products; call for immediate action to promote sustainable timber harvesting; call for initiatives to address the needs of areas suffering from poverty and high rates of deforestation; create and strengthen partnerships and international cooperation to facilitate the provision of increased financial resources; and strengthen international cooperation for financing and technology transfer. The Declaration also calls on countries and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to accelerate implementation of the proposals for action and intensify reporting efforts to the UNFF in order to contribute to an assessment of progress in 2005.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT: More than 50 heads of State, along with other senior government officials from around the world, met in Monterrey, Mexico from 18-22 March 2002, at the International Conference on Financing for Development. Governments adopted the Monterrey Consensus (A/CONF.198/3) and a number of developed countries pledged to increase foreign aid. In Monterrey, many governments highlighted that "the Millennium Summit consists of ‘goals’, Monterrey is the venue for mobilizing ‘resources’ for financing development, and Johannesburg will be the ‘ideas’ and action plan."

The goal of the Monterrey Consensus is to "eradicate poverty, achieve sustained economic growth and promote sustainable development as we advance to a fully inclusive and equitable global economic system." The leading actions are divided into sections on: mobilization of domestic financial resources for development; mobilization of international resources for development, foreign direct investment and other private flows; international trade as an engine for development; the augmentation of international financial and technical cooperation for development; external debt; and economic issues, and the coherence and consistency of international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development. More coordination and interaction is called for between ECOSOC, the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. A follow-up conference to review implementation of the Monterrey Consensus has been called for, with the modalities to be decided no later than 2005.


OPENING PLENARY: PrepCom III will begin at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1. Delegates are expected to hear opening statements, adopt the agenda and address other organizational matters (A/ CONF.199/PC/1 and Add.1, A/CONF.199/PC/8); and deal with the accreditation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (A/CONF.199/PC/6).

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will commence its work in Conference Room 1 immediately following the conclusion of the opening Plenary. The Group will begin consideration of sections I-IV of the Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1): introduction; poverty eradication; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; and protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will commence its work in Conference Room 4 immediately following the conclusion of the opening Plenary. The Group will begin consideration of sections V-IX of the Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1): sustainable development in a globalizing world; health and sustainable development; sustainable development of small island developing States; sustainable development initiatives for Africa; and means of implementation. 

Further information


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Small Island Developing States
Non-state coalitions